Saturday 12 February 2022

I hear you're a racist now, Mr Coyle

The suspension of Labour MP Neil Coyle yesterday is receiving the kind of low-key BBC reporting we'd expect. 

The story appeared on BBC One's News at One and News at Six but not on BBC One's News at Ten. On both News at One and News at Six it was treated as a minor story, getting just 18 seconds on each bulletin.
The News at One version lacked detail:
The Labour MP Neil Coyle has had the party whip suspended, following allegations that he made racist comments to a journalist on the Parliamentary estate. Mr Coyle said he was "very sorry" for his "insensitive comments", which politics reporter Henry Dyer said made him feel uncomfortable in his place of work.
And the News at Six barely added much more:
The Labour MP Neil Coyle has been suspended from the party following allegations he made racially insensitive remark in a bar in the House of Commons. Mr Coyle says he's very sorry for his insensitive comments, which were reported in a formal complaint by a journalist who's of British-Chinese heritage. 
This morning's BBC Breakfast has been giving it 24 seconds:
The MP Neil Coyle has been suspended by the Labour Party after allegations he made racist comments in a House of Commons bar. The member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark has apologised for what he called his "insensitive behaviour" when talking to a political journalist of British-Chinese heritage. Mr Coyle said he wants to "re-prove" his Labour values and be readmitted to the party in due course.

Another interesting aspect of the reporting of this story is how the BBC has sensitively avoided mentioning, or even hinting at, the "racial stereotype" Mr Coyle is said to have used - Sax Romer's Chinese supervillain Dr. Fu Manchu. Other broadcasters mentioned it. 

And the BBC's online report went through 6½ hours and seven edits before finally getting the name of Mr Dyer's employer correct. 

For trivia fans, here's Wikipedia's list of who's play Fu Manchu in film. It's an intriguing list:

Harry Agar Lyons, Warner Oland, Boris Karloff, Lou Marcelle, Henry Brandon, John Carradine, Glen Gordon, Christopher Lee, Peter Sellers and Nicolas Cage.

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